Dark Tower FAQ 2.02 WIZARD & GLASS SPOILER EDITION Updated 06/13/98 Welcome to the Dark Tower Frequently Asked Questions File! It is lovingly maintained by Jordan C. Lund who lives in the great Northwest (Portland, OR) and may be reached at jordanl@europa.com if you have any questions, comments or corrections. Any and all input is most welcome! For expediencies sake I will refer to "The Gunslinger" as book one, "The Drawing of the Three" as book two, "The Waste Lands" as book three and the much anticipated "Wizard and Glass" as book four. The complete current version of this FAQ and all available text files can always be found at my personal web page located at the URL below. http://www.europa.com/~jordanl/dtfaq1.htm Contents I. Frequently Asked Questions (updated again in 2.0) II. A Chronology (spoilers if you haven't read ALL FOUR books) III. Unanswered Questions (updated in 2.0) IV. Other Rolands and Towers (added in version 1.2) V. Credits Page (added in version 1.1) I. Frequently Asked Questions 1. The question everybody wants answered... "When is the next book coming out?" The hardcover edition by Donald M. Grant began shipping on August 15th. I received my copy on August 29th (if you don't believe in Ka you might be interested in knowing that this is also the 3rd anniversary of the FAQ.) The artwork is done by Dave McKean (he did the stunning cover art for the Sandman series as well as the coolest Tarot deck you've ever seen.) You can contact Donald M. Grant using the information below: Donald M. Grant, Publisher, Inc. P.O. Box 187 Hampton Falls, NH 03844 Customer Service - 1-(603)-778-7191 Toll Free Ordering - 1-800-476-0510 (Visa & MasterCard Accepted) Web Page - http://www.bluefin.net/~dmgrant/ Books In Print now lists an ISBN, price and date for the "Wizard & Glass" trade paperback. ISBN# 0-452-27917-8, $17.95, November, 1997. Now before somebody asks, NO, there is no information on book five just yet. King expects (according to the afterwords in the books we now have) to do three more books. Two will be set in mid-world and the third will be "set almost entirely in our world - that's the one dealing with the vacant lot on the corner of second and forty-sixth, and the rose that grows there." Mr. King has also repeatedly warned us, the readers, to be prepared for the fact that someone (perhaps Roland himself) may die before the tower is reached. 2. "Who is The Man in Black?" The Man in Black was a sorcerer named Walter who may have aided in the collapse of the Gunslinger community where Roland grew up (see the partial chronology that follows.) He was in the employ of another man named Marten who attempted to have Roland banished from the community. He died after Roland caught up with him at the end of the first book. 3. "Who is Richard Fannin?" Richard Fannin, also known as Merlin, Maerlin, the Magician, the Wizard, The Ageless Stranger, and Randall Flagg, appears as the villain in several King stories. In the trade paperback version of book two Roland makes mention that he witnessed the events of "Eyes of the Dragon" on pages 361-362 (or if you don't have the trade paperback edition it is in the section called "The Pusher", chapter 3, section 13.) In the trade version of book three Fannin himself admits that he was the villain in "The Stand" on pages 387-390 (again, if you don't have the trade edition try "Bridge and City", section 40.) We discover in book 4 that R.F. is also Marten Broadcloak, the wizard advisor to Roland's father, seducer of his mother and a man who aided in the complete and utter destruction of the Gunslinger way of life. 4. "What is the Dark Tower?" The Dark Tower appears to be a linchpin of time and space, it may connect alternate time lines or realities but its true nature (at this time) remains unclear. What is clear is that Roland's world may not be our own. There are similarities such as the song "Hey Jude" and other snippets of pop culture, but Roland never heard of a place like New York City and remains of lost technology are thousands of years old and yet hundreds of years ahead of our current technology. For more information on the Tower read the note for Insomnia below (or if you don't want to read spoilers then go read the book!) Jake, Eddie & Odetta seem to have been drawn from "our" world based on the evidence that Eddie has seen the film version of "The Shining" as opposed to "hearing about that weird hotel..." (the latter statement of which would clearly place him in King's fictional universe of horror instead of a world grounded in reality.) 5. "Why is it so hard to find the hardcovers?" (added in 1.21) The hardcover editions of the Dark Tower books are published in limited quantities by Donald M. Grant Publisher in Hampton Falls, New Hampshire. The first release of the books that was widely available was in the format called "trade paperback", published by Plume books (that's what I have.) They were then re-formatted and published as "mass market paperbacks", the kind you see at grocery store checkout lines. To my knowledge the trade paperback editions contain the same color plates that the limited edition hardcovers had (book 1 had art by Michael Whelan, book 2 by Phil Hale, and book 3 by Ned Dameron), but the mass market paperbacks do not. There is also a difference in page layout between the tpb and mmpb, but I am not sure if that is true when comparing the hc to the tpb. You may contact Donald M. Grant at the following address and phone numbers: (added in 1.6) Donald M. Grant, Publisher, Inc. P.O. Box 187 Hampton Falls, NH 03844 Customer Service - 1-(603)-778-7191 Toll Free Ordering - 1-800-476-0510 (Visa & MasterCard Accepted) Web Page - http://www.bluefin.net/~dmgrant/ 6. "What's the deal with the geography?" (added in 1.3, updated in 2.0) Several times over the course of "the Drawing of the Three" Roland makes mention of his location and his movements. Although he is on the coast of a Western sea the descriptions of shadows and the movements of the sun don't match up with someone heading North up the beach of an ocean on the Western side of a continent (these occurrences happen notably in the following sections, chapters and parts... "the Prisoner", chapter 1, parts 3 & 4, and in "Shuffle") In book four both Eddie and Susannah say that the geography is "wacky" in Rolands world and that's good enough for me. Time is also evidently askew and not all of it is caused by the world moving on. 7. "How does 'Insomnia' figure in to all of this?" (added in 1.4) The story behind Insomnia is rather simple, Ralph Roberts can't sleep. Eventually he starts hallucinating, seeing auras around people and seeing little bald men wearing white smocks who go around with sharp implements cutting the auras of the dying so they can truly pass from this world ("to other worlds than these".) There are three "doctors", two of whom go about their work in a solemn and professional manner. They visit people who are sick and in pain and do what they can to end suffering. The third doctor is more chaotic, he gets a perverse thrill out of what he does and serves chaos by causing people (and animals) to die in tragic accidents. The doctors explain to the heroes of the story that life is like a tower, human beings and other Short-Timers inhabit the first two floors of the tower and are oblivious to things above them. They can however, be raised up to a higher level of consciousness and brought to see other levels through sleep deprivation. Long-Timers, such as the LBDs (Little Bald Doctors) can go down to do their work among the Short-Timers, but are themselves prevented from interacting with the All-Timers who reside even higher in this metaphorical tower. The creatures residing at the highest levels use the beings below them as pawns in a gigantic and unfathomable contest between the Random (chaos) and the Purpose (order.) It is later revealed that in addition to the regular inhabitants of the tower there are also those called "the Great Ones", people who are destined to change the world in dramatic ways. One of these great ones is (at the time of "Insomnia") a little boy with a scar across his nose named Patrick Danville. One of the inhabitants of the Tower appeared to a man named Ed Deepneau and convinced him to try and blow up a civic center for the sole purpose of killing young Patrick. This "Crimson King" wants the boy dead because eighteen years in the future he will save the lives of two men, one of whom (according to the two "good" LBDs) must not die. These two men are presumably Roland and Eddie (Patrick has been having dreams about Roland reaching the tower and confronting a man he calls "the Red King".) The forces of the Purpose have enhanced the lives of the heroes of "Insomnia" so they can prevent the Crimson King and the forces of Random from killing the child and thereby remove the agent that saves the men who will confront the Crimson King at his tower. As a side note: when Short-Timers operate on the higher levels of the tower they become intangible to the people and things in the "real" world. Time also passes much faster, many days can pass over the course of a conversation. This could easily explain how Roland and the Man in Black held a conversation over the course of at least a hundred years, Roland was unknowingly dragged up a level and held there while he had his visions. In the mean time the Man in Black returned down to the real level and either died or killed himself, either way when Roland returned to the real world enough time had passed to turn his companion into a skeleton. 8. "How does 'Rose Madder' fit into all of this?" (Added in 1.5) Rose Madder is the story of Rosie Daniels and how she came to leave her abusive husband, but there are parts of the book that are much more than that. After she leaves, Rosie moves hundreds of miles away and attempts to begin a new life. She takes back her maiden name, McClendon, she checks into a halfway house for battered women and she gets a job recording books on tape. But there is something else too... Along the way she buys a painting, a painting of a woman on a hill that seems to call out to her. After a while strange things start happening, it seems that the view of the painting is widening, more detail begins to appear around the edges and then things start to appear in her apartment, crickets and bits of clover that could only have come from the painting. One night Rosie is awakened by the sound of thunder. It has begun raining, inside the painting, and the thunder from that storm awakened her. Curious Rosie draws closer and is actually drawn through the painting into another world. Here she meets a black woman named Dorcas (who just might carry a knife strapped to her thigh like, Rosie thinks, "a heroine in one of those sweet-savage Paul Sheldon novels..." {Paul Sheldon being the name of the main character in Misery}) and the woman she was able to see before, a woman who could have been her own twin, dressed in a red robe so dark it could almost be purple but not quite (this color is called rose madder.) Both Dorcas and Rose Madder are inflicted with a disease, something that causes dark blotches to appear on the skin and a form of insanity as well (although Rose Madder has it much worse than Dorcas.) This disease also has made them both infertile so that raises the question of just whose baby this is anyway. Rose Madder tells Rosie that whatever Rosie does for her she will repay. What one does for the other shall be returned, that, says Rose Madder, is their "ka". What Rose Madder wants done is for her baby to be returned. The baby has been placed in a maze on the other side of the temple in the painting and Rose must first safely cross a stream of forgetfulness (this represents one of the rivers of hell BTW, see Dante for details) and pass through a dead garden to reach it. In the garden she stops at a tainted pomegranate tree, the only living plant in the garden, and collects seeds to mark her way through the maze. The maze nearby is guarded by a one eyed bull named Erinyes who, although blind, can smell real well. Should Dorcas or Rose Madder attempt to enter the temple (or the maze beyond) he would smell their disease and kill them. He can also smell blood and Rose uses this to defeat the bull and rescue the child. Dorcas seeks to give Rosie advice and lists her qualifications to do so by saying (in part) "She's (Rose Madder) drunk the waters of youth, and she make me drink, too... I've buried my children, and their children, and their children's children into the fifth generation... I've seen bodies on fire and heads by the hundreds poked onto poles along the streets of the City of Lud, I've seen wise leaders assassinated and fools put up in their places, and still I live." Rosie is repaid in the end when she lures her husband into this other world and he encounters Rose Madder. He mistakes Madder for his vanished wife and Madder transforms into a tentacled beast and kills him. As Norman screams Rosie thinks to herself "Her face did that... it was the face of a supernally beautiful goddess seen in an illustration hidden within some old and dusty book like a rare flower in a weedy vacant lot..." So what does this all mean? There are several points of note: #1) Rose comes from the same world as the book Misery. (She is aware of Paul Sheldon novels.) #2) The world of the painting is the same as Roland's world. (Dorcas mentions being a witness to the assault of Lud and the disease she and Rose Madder both have is very similar in many respects to the disease that the old folks Roland and Co. encounter have, namely sterility and almost a sort of radiation sickness.) #3) The painting that Rosie bought works in the same way as the doors that Roland used in book two. The only difference is that the frame rate (so to speak) of the painting is much slower than the doors. #4) Both Dorcas and Rose Madder aren't quite human. Besides the disease that afflicts them the have lived a lot longer than anyone has a right to thanks to some form of a fountain of youth. Rose Madder herself is also nearer to the demons that Roland & Co. encounter than anything else. #5) Near the end of the book Rosie is struck by the same sort of time-split illness that strikes Roland and Jake in book three (although she doesn't know what causes it at the time.) My theory for the cause is that the tree she gets the pomegranate seeds from is not only in her future, but that it grew from the seed she planted at the end of the book. Until she plants the seed she would have two memories, one where the tree was there for her and one where it was not, both memory trails would be equally valid, but by planting the seed she was able to drive one away and close the time paradox. 9. "How does the Talisman fit into all of this? I'm sorry to say, but despite the superficial plot similarities of the Talisman to the Dark Tower (part of the novel has a boy travel across a blasted wasteland via train to reach a black hotel which contains the Talisman, "the nexus of all worlds and all possible worlds..."), it does not directly tie in. There are some small possible connections, the black hotel has weathervanes that feature sigils which might correspond to the guardians of Roland's world, early on there are mentions of numerous two headed animals (not unlike the animals Roland & Co. encounter outside Lud), at times Jack seems to be able to communicate via telepathy with Wolf, Speedy, and the Talisman itself (a la The Shining, The Stand and the Dark Tower books), and one character makes mention of other worlds, but it's clear that the world of the Talisman is not the world of the Dark Tower or any other of King's fictional Earths. The world of the Tower has a feeling of being tremendously old, much older than our world. In the Talisman we are given the feeling that time in both Earth and the Territories is concurrent. There is also none of the cultural referencing that appears in Roland's world (the people in the Territories don't refer to "the Bible", but "the Book of Good Farming" and even though people had been travelling back and forth for decades no songs or bands seem to have made the lasting impression that "Hey Jude" or "ZZTop" did in Roland's world.) There is no reference to "lost" technology, like Blaine the Mono or even something as simple as guns and gunpowder, the people of the Territories are decidedly middle ages in lifestyle. The writing style is closer to "Eyes of the Dragon" than any of King's other books, but King has not (yet) made the connection there so I will not either. Personally I think the Talisman was a huge writing exercise for King. He had some plot ideas and themes that he wasn't quite sure what to do with and so he wrote this book. But for some, as of yet unexplained reason, the Talisman didn't quite provide the release for those ideas that King wanted. Later he worked some of the same themes into the Dark Tower books (remember, when he wrote the Talisman he probably hadn't written books 2 and 3 of the Dark Tower.) One sharp FAQ reader (whose name I have, alas, lost) kindly pointed out that Mr. Tower, the man who gives Jake the book on Charlie the Choo-Choo, makes a reference to the Territories, so perhaps my conclusion above is a bit premature. But I'm going to stand by it until King gives us a little more meat to work with. II. Chronology The following is the list of events as they happened in TIME, not as they appeared in the books. I expect many holes will be filled in as the series progresses. The word "circa" is Latin and means "approximately" or, more literally, "around". The initials B.C. have little meaning in Roland's world so I have changed the acronym to mean "Before Current" time, then the book number as a reference to which current time we're talking about (at least 120 years are covered over the course of book 1 alone.) If you have NOT read all FOUR books YOU WILL FIND SPOILERS BELOW! I have also added in the new version of the FAQ (2.01) page numbers for each point on the chronology. These page numbers use the following format (I.106) meaning "Book 1 (The Gunslinger). Page #106". As of now I only have page numbers for the first and second books and those are from the Trade Paperback (Plume) edition. If you are reading the Mass Market Paperback edition (the one without the snazzy illustrations) then your mileage may vary. More notations will follow in future versions of the FAQ. Book 3 - Circa 3,000,000,000 B.C. (book 3 time.) A creation myth of Roland's world appears on page 36. It involves two cardinal stars, Old Mother (or Lydia) to the South and Old Star (or Apon) to the North. Apon had a fling with Cassiopeia and a fight ensued between the stars. The gods stopped it by separating the two and forcing Cass. into a celestial rocking chair. The wreckage of this fight formed the solar system. Susannah recognizes Old Mother as being a planet, not a star. Book 2 - Circa 1943 - A five year old Odetta Holmes has a brick dropped on her head by Jack Mort. This event creates Detta Walker although Detta takes control only one or two times until 1959 (II. 237.) August 19, 1959 - Jack Mort pushes Odetta Holmes in front of a subway train, both her legs are amputated. It is this event that causes Detta Walker to become more dominant (II. 197.) Circa 1964 - Roland enters the mind of Detta Walker while she is shoplifting in Macy's department store and brings her into his world (II. 223.) Book 1 - May 9, 1977^1 - Jake is pushed in front of a large Cadillac and killed. Before he dies he sees the image of The Man in Black dressed as a priest. He believes that TMIB pushed him in front of the car. This man is actually Jack Mort dressed as a priest and not the man in black after all (I.83). Book 2 - May 9, 1977^2 - Roland enters the body of Jack Mort, prevents Jake from being killed and sent to the Gunslinger's world (II. 317), and gets enough of the anti-biotic (II. 369) Keflex to save his own life (as well as more ammunition than he has ever seen before in his life. (II. 357)) In the process Jack Mort is killed by the same train that maimed Odetta Holmes (II. 386.) Book 3 - May 31, 1977 - Jake begins to believe that he is going insane due to the same split time-line that affects Roland. In one reality he died, in another he didn't. Jake fully remembers both and that is tearing him apart. Jake skips school and finds an empty lot that once contained an "artistic deli". In the lot he finds a silver key and a rose growing in the middle of a clump of purple grass (see the note for Roland's meeting with Walter.) The rose opens and within Jake sees thousands of stars. He also buys a book from a man named "Tower", in this book is a train that bears a remarkable similarity to Blaine the Mono. This similarity leads Jake to believe that Blaine runs from St. Louis, MO to Topeka, KS and he just might be right. June 1, 1977 - Jake meets Eddie in a dream and is told to go to "co-op city" and find the young Eddie and Henry Dean. By following them he can find the gateway to the Gunslinger's world, which is actually contained within an ancient house thought to be haunted. Henry tells Eddie that two kids from Norwood Street had been found there with their throats cut and all the blood drained from their bodies and their hair had turned white. Eddie and Henry call the house "The Mansion", but there is reason to believe that at one point in the past it may have been called "The Markey Academy". This house is a living guardian between universes and it comes alive to prevent Jake from passing through. Naturally it fails. 1985 - "Rose Madder". A newly pregnant Rose Daniels is beaten so severely by her husband that she loses the baby. Book 2 - Circa 1988 - Roland enters the 21 (II. 85) year old body of Eddie Dean and helps him get a load of drugs through customs, gains a passing familiarity with antibiotics (enough to stay alive until a permanent cure for the lobstrosity bite is found), and rescues Eddie from a bloody shoot-out (II. 40 - 157.) It is mentioned that Eddie had an older sister named Selina. She was killed by a drunk driver when Eddie was two and Henry was ten (II. 68.) Eddie tells the story of how Henry got hooked on drugs while serving a tour in Viet-Nam (II. 169, 174.) June 16, 1990 to Summer, 1991 - Events of "The Stand". March, 1992 to August, 1998 - Events of "Insomnia" 1994 - Events of "Rose Madder". Book 3 - Circa 300 or 400 B.C. (book 3 time) - A civil war erupted in a land called Garlan or in a place even farther away called Porla. Ripples of anarchy and rebellion spread out from this initial outbreak and caused almost every kingdom to fall. Huge, well-organized and well-trained armies broke apart into disorganized bands of bandits called "Harriers". Communication between River Crossing and the great city Lud stopped 120 years B.C. The last tribute was sent to the rulers of River Crossing about this same time, and the people delivering the tribute found a deserted keep and hundreds of slain men whose jawbones screamed with demonic influence. The people that survived that encounter came away with radiation sickness. The bands of harriers became a gang named "the Grays" and began a regular assault on the city of Lud. Lud's original inhabitants organized a defense and, because they were younger, were called "the Pubes". Around 90 B.C. Lud fell under the onslaught of the last great army led by a man named David Quick (who was killed himself when his airplane landed hard, breaking one wing.) Book 4 - A young Eldred Jonas is going through the final rite to become a gunslinger. Corts father breaks the boys leg and Jonas is sent West. Book 3 - Roland and Cuthbert plan a night of mischief-making in the cemetery, but Alain won't go for fear of offending the spirits. Cuthbert mocks his friend saying that ghosts don't exist. Book 4 - Cuthbert and Alain used to set off the Mid-World equivalent of M-80s for fun until Cuthbert tried to fire one with his sling-shot and something untoward happened. Book 3 - A Fair-Day riddling event ends when a cross-eyed man tries to cheat Cort by stealing the answers to the riddles. Cort sticks a dagger in his chest and nobody is awarded the prize goose. Book 1 - Roland & Cuthbert overhear the plot of a cook named Hax and a guard to poison an entire town called Farson in the name of "The Good Man" (I.101-110). Hax is hung. It is said that Roland's father was also named Roland (I.105). Roland recalls how Marten the Enchanter danced a courtship dance with his mother while he and his father watched. He knows Marten killed his father with a knife (I.151-152). Book 4 - 2 years after Hax was hung Sylvia Pittson (the preacher in Tull) had taken a trip through Hambry. Book 1 - 3 years after Hax was hung Roland nearly catches Marten & his mother in flagrante delicto (I.159). At this time a revolt is occurring in the West and the world has already "moved on". Roland uses his hawk, David, to beat Cort in open combat (I.171). Book 4 - Right after Roland's battle with Cort he goes into the lower town and sleeps with a woman for the first time. The next morning his father confronts him in a fury for allowing himself to be manipulated by Marten. Steven also says that he has known about his wife and Marten for two years. Roland, Cuthbert and Alain are sent to a town called Hambry in the Barony of Mejis for their own safety. Steven believes that this place should be far enough removed from "The Good Man" and his rebellion against the Affiliation. Roland's father wants the boys to watch out for The Wizard's Rainbow. 13 crystal balls, each representing a guardian of the beam and a 13th representing the Dark Tower. Most are broken, but Maerlyn's Grapefruit, the pink one, still exists. Blue, Green and Orange are also still around supposedly. This pink globe consumes whoever uses it so Farson can't personally keep it for very long. Rhea, the witch outside Hambry, is currently holding it for Farson. An old witch named Rhea uses a crystal ball to fortell the coming of three riders. One she clearly recognizes as a gunslinger (Roland) even though he carries no guns but rather a bow and arrows along with a lance. We find out later that the crystal ball was given to her by John Farson, the Good Man, for safe keeping. The box it is stored in is engraved with an all seeing eye (see the following notes regarding Topeka and the graffiti found there.) Rhea meets with Susan Delgato and ensures Susan's virginal status before sending her to the mayor of the town for a somewhat unseemly business transaction (Susan bears him a son and he returns Susans land and horses that somehow were lost when her father died.) However Rhea states that Thorin (the mayor) isn't to have her until the time of reaping (three months later). Rhea also uses hypnotism to program Susan to do something right after Thorin attempts to concieve his son. Susan encounters a young man who introduces himself as Will Dearborn, the young man carrying a bow and arrows and a lance. Will reveals that John Farson, "The Good Man", is fast becoming a threat. In his name civil war has broken out in the Northern and Western Baronies. One month after the defeat of Cort It is revealed (to the reader at any rate) that "Will Dearborn", "Arthur Heath" and "Richard Stockworth" are actually Roland Deschain, Cuthbert AllGood and Alain Johns. Roland is not quite fifteen years old at this point. Three men, apparently working for Farson, had moved into Hambry and are getting cosy with the mayor as bodyguards. Eldred Jonas, Roy Depape and Clay Reynolds. Jonas, at the very least, has visited other worlds. Collectively the three are called "The Big Coffin Hunters." Roland and Susan meet again at a huge party (Romeo and Juliet style.) Roland figures out that Susan is, essentially, whoring herself to the mayor and becomes infuriated with her. Depape, of the Big Coffin Hunters, tries to start a bar-fight with a young retarded boy. Cuthbert tries to break it up but he is soon overtaken by Reynolds who, in an almost laughable mexican stand off, is surprised by Alain who is in turn drawn down on by Jonas. Roland is the tie-breaker and everyone goes home alive and happy. The young Ka-tet also gains a new friend in that of Sheemie, the retarded bar-boy. In the town square are representations of seven of the twelve guardians. Bear, Turtle, Fish, Eagle, Lion, Bat and Wolf. One week after the bar- fight Sheemie delivers flowers to Susan from Roland. Three weeks after the bar- fight Susan has a fight with her Aunt (Cordelia) and Susan goes out for a frustrated horseback ride. She encounters Roland who tells her that he's suspicious of the Big Coffin Hunters and tells her why. They kiss passionately and vow never to see each other again. Around this time Depape, who has been researching the young trio, discovers that Roland is the son of a Gunslinger, last in a famous line of Gunslingers and may in fact be one himself. Roland and Susan figure out that the Big Coffin Hunters are, in fact, working for Farson and are preparing four oil-tankers to fuel his war machines. Book 1 - Mention is made of a Susan telling Roland the story of Oedipus. The mention occurs within the flashback to the story of the traitor Hax. It is later said that Susan was a horse drover's daughter and Roland's first love. It is extremely important to note that in this same section Marten is named as The Good Man (I.106). It is also mentioned later on that Roland witnessed Susan being burned alive (I.119). Book 4 - Susan is nearly raped by the man she is betrothed to and she is so repulsed by the act and the non-chalance of everyone around her that she goes off riding. Roland sees her and Ka sweeps them into each others arms. Afterwards, in a trance, Susan promptly attempts to chop all her hair off. It is this that the old witch had programmed her to do after she had slept with Thorin, the mayor of the town. Cordelia knows something is up and takes her suspicions to Jonas. Jonas starts investigating the trio, knowing that one of them, and perhaps all of them, are more than they seem. He uncovers evidence that the three boys are on to him and his companions. Jonas refers to Noah as "Old Pa" One day, after the boys leave the bunkhouse, Jonas goes in and trashes the place partly as an excuse to see what they are up to, but mostly in the hopes that he will infuriate them. Alain immediately knows something is wrong, even though he is miles away. This is known as "The Touch". The three return to camp and Cuthbert nearly tears Rolands head off for not wanting to do anything about it. He rode off in a huff and ran into Shermie who is supposed to deliver a letter from Rhea to Cordelia. Cuthbert neatly intercepts it. The Big Coffin Hunters had been waiting for one of Farsons men to make contact and sure enough one of them does. Depape is deeply disturbed by the Man in Black due to his constantly shifting appearance. He wears faces pulled seemingly from Depapes mind itself. Depape also said that the Man in Black "laughed like a dead person." The Man in Black also carried Farsons sign, the all seeing eye. Jonas went to meet him and was equally taken aback. The Man in Black is, of course, Walter. The letter Cuthbert intercepted would have confrimed Cordelias suspicions, that her neice was no longer pure as the driven snow. Cuthbert confronts Roland with the letter and Roland is forced to apologize profusely for behaving like a mongrel in heat. Roland and Cuthbert confront Rhea, killing her pet snake and warning her to cease interfering. Rhea, naturally, will not be cowed so easily. Latigo, the man Jonas had been waiting for (Walter was a somewhat unpleasant surprise) arrives with 100 of Farsons men. They are planning to kill Roland and his companions the day before the reaping festival. The three boys meet with Susan in a mausoleum at night to discuss what has gone on in the town and their future plans. Their goal is to blow up the oil-tankers and kill all of Farsons men, but the day they plan to do it will be a single day late. Roland & his ka-tet begin preparations while Rhea is being consumed by the Grapefruit. The demon moon that marks reaping time rose, but as if it were an ill-omen it rises blood-red. Cordelia has gone mad, burning her neice in effigy and Reynolds began the assault on Hambry by killing Rimer, the Mayor's Chancellor. Depape kills Mayor Thorin himself, leaving behind the mark of Farson on the wall (the all seeing eye) and Cuthbert's rook skull in the dead man's lap to implicate the boys in the crime. Jonas and a crew of locals arrest Roland and co. for the murders. Roland figures out that Jonas is a failed Gunslinger and taunts him with it. They then try to retrieve the crystal ball from Rhea, who refuses to part with it unless she is allowed to come along. Susan breaks into the jail, killing the Sherrif and his deputy in order to free Roland. Cuthbert and Alain come along for the ride, but it is clear she is doing this for Roland's sake alone. Jonas' men manage to capture Susan and take her back to town before Roland and co. sweep down on the remaining men like avenging angels killing as many as they can. Roland recovers the Grapefruit after killing Jonas. Roland becomes absorbed by the light from the Grapefruit. He hears the voice of the Turtle which says (among other things) "You will kill everything and everyone you love, and still the tower will be pent shut against you." Sheemie rescues Susan with Thorin's wife and maid. Roland and co. blow up Farson's oil tankers and lead the remaining soldiers straight into a breach between dimensions called a "thinny" that consumes them all. Susan is re-captured by Rhea and Clay Reynolds, the lone remaining Big Coffin Hunter, the town as a whole (and Susan's aunt, now raving mad, in particular) seeks to burn Susan alive as part of the annual Reaping Day festivities. Susan and Roland's unborn child are consumed by the flames. Cordelia has a heart attack and dies before the bonfire does. Unfortnately while Roland is gazing into the Grapefruit, it shows him the entire event from beginning to end (it also lets him know, in no uncertain terms, that he would have been a father.) Roland suffers an emotional collapse and shuts down. His friends return with him to their homeland. 1 day before coming home Roland comes from his stupor and the crystal ball shows him all the events that occured in Hambry and Mejis barony, even the events that happened outside his presence. 3 days after coming home Roland gazes into the Grapefruit again and manages to prevent his father from being assassinated. Roland gives the crystal ball to his father at a large celebration, Roland's father steps down as a Gunslinger and passes on the sandalwood grip pistols that are the birthright of all Gunslingers. Roland visits his mother's chambers to speak to her after recieving his father's guns. She is hiding behind a curtain, Polonius fashion, probably because she had taken the crystal ball from Steven and had been using it without his knowledge. Roland is looking at the ball when his mother steps from behind the curtain and the Grapefruit twists her reflection so that it appears to be the image of Rhea, the evil witch. Without a moments hesitation Roland turns and fires the twin sandalwood revolvers for the first time, instantly slaying his own mother. She was carrying a hand-made belt, a gift to make up for the wrong she had done her son and husband. Roland wears this blood-stained belt for years afterwards. Book 2 - 9 weeks after the graduation ceremonies for Roland's class, Cort dies (perhaps poisoned.) (II. 177) Book 4 - Sheemie followed Roland, Cuthbert and Alain all the way home and continued with them when they set out with Jamie DeCurry on the quest for the Dark Tower. It is around this time that they see Dennis and Thomas chasing Flagg. Less than a year after the killings in Hambry, Clay Reynolds and Coral Thorin (among others) are killed after a failed bank robbery attempt in a town called Oakley. Book 3 - 1 year after Roland defeats Cort the Downland Baronies become overrun by riot and civil war. 2 years after Cort dies (is killed?) the civil war that destroys the gunslingers begins. This revolt is led by a man named John Farson who wanted Roland dead for stealing Maerlin's Grapefruit, one of 13 powerful crystal balls. Book 1 - 3 years after Roland's father is killed, Walter delivers Marten to Roland (I.213). Although it is hinted that Marten is killed in this exchange (I.140), he must escape Roland's grasp because for the bulk of Book 1 Roland believed The Man In Black to be Marten. 10 years after the hanging of Hax the land falls to "the good man". It is also first mentioned that Roland killed his mother (I.111) Roland buys a mule in Pricetown (I.22). Roland is given a stainless steel Silva compass by a madman who tells him to "give it to Jesus" (I.15). The Man in Black arrives in Tull, resurrects Nort (I.38). Roland survives Tull by killing every man woman and child in the town after they attack him in a religious fervor (I.59-63). Roland begins his chase of the man in black across the desert (I.11). Roland meets Brown & Zoltan, the mule dies (I.15-19). 16 days after leaving Brown and Zoltan Roland meets John Chambers, aka "Jake" (I.74). Jake tells Roland his vague rememberings of New York City (I.79) and, under hypnosis, recalls the circumstances of his death (see 1977 note above). In the cellar are mutated spiders, a cache of food & a human jawbone (I.89-91) (described in book 3 as being larger than human, from the Great Old Ones.) After book 2 this, and all other book 1 notes concerning Jake, become "retcon" or "retired continuity" or "alternate reality". After book 2 the reality is that Roland made the desert trek alone, despite what he remembers (Eddie also says that Roland never mentioned Jake either so the portions involving discussions of Jake in book 2 ceased to be as soon as he prevented Jack Mort from killing Jake.) Book 3 - Roland approaches an abandoned way station. He replenishes his water (there is an ancient electric pump that still runs) and moves on. He finds no basement, no extra food, and no demon jawbone. Book 1 - Roland sees the planet Mars in the sky (I.88). Roland & Jake both see the man in black for the first time ascending a mountain (I.112) A sexual demon oracle nearly kills Jake and tells Roland of the drawing of the three. Jake had been using the jawbone as a talisman, but threw it away after Roland's encounter with the oracle (I.122-132). It is mentioned that it has been 12 years since Roland left the destruction of the Gunslinger community behind him and began searching for the man in black (I.137). While climbing the mountain the man in black climbed earlier Roland and Jake find a hand car and rail road that carry them through it (I.153). As in the case of the cellar the darkness hides mutations, this time humans instead of spiders (I.175), but it also has a sort of subway station. Roland gets a bow and some arrows which he later uses to gauge distances in the dark (I.184). In this station are a number of mummified corpses that crumble to dust when touched. Roland says that there used to be a gas that would do that to people and that they fought a war with it. Jake falls to his death (I.191) as Roland pursues the man in black. Roland catches the man in black in an animal grave yard (I.197). Roland has his fortune told (I.200-201). Walter sends Roland a dream (I.201-204) that shows the nature of the universe. Everything is destroyed by a great white light and the dream ends with a lone blade of purple grass (see the notes for 1977.) Afterwards Walter brags that Marten could not have withstood the same vision (I.205). Roland discovers the man in black is NOT Marten, but Walter, a man in Marten's employ (I.213). Roland is also told that Walter is the least of the Tower's minions. After him come "The Ageless Stranger" (who not only lives backward in time, but exists in all times) and "The Beast" (I.211-212). Walter admits that although he works for the Ageless Stranger, they have never met outside a dream he had once (I.211). After this encounter 10 years have passed, Roland's hair is graying and the man in black has turned into a skeleton. Roland takes the jawbone. In Book 3 Roland says it took him 20 years to go from his home in Gilead to the place where he met Walter. He also says that after the meeting Walter had been dead at least 100 years and perhaps more. Book 2 - Roland loses his right index and middle fingers as well as his right big toe to a crustacean creature nicknamed a "lobstrosity" (II. 17.) While the creature didn't appear to be poisonous, Roland's wounds quickly became infected and that's just as bad (II. 30.) These creatures also raise both claws in front of them, not unlike a boxer raising both gloves in defense. Roland calls this stance the "honor stance" (II.16), a term he learned while training under Cort. A wave soaked Roland's ammunition belt shortly before he was attacked and reduced the number of good shells by at least half if not more (II. 15.) Roland staggers Northward up the beach and finds a door labeled "The Prisoner" (II. 33.) See the note for 1988 above. Here Roland also thinks about his fellow Gunslingers (but only briefly.) He says that (in reference to their collective search for the Dark Tower) the others either died, gave up, killed themselves, fell victim to treachery or chose to disbelieve the whole idea of the tower all-together (II. 40.) Out of his class of 56 only 13 became gunslingers (II. 177.) Of those 13 only Roland survives (the names of some of the others are given in book 2 as well during the 1988 notation, Cuthbert, Jamie DeCurry, Alan, Allen, Thomas & Desmond.) At least one of them (named Alain) was killed by Cuthbert and Roland himself (II. 355.) Roland and Eddie continue their quest and find a second door marked "The Lady of Shadows" (II.180) (see respective notes above.) The split personality of Odetta Holmes / Detta Walker make the journey to the third door extremely difficult. The fact that Roland's infection has returned doesn't help matters either. Both women create a false history of their journey, Odetta to fill in the blanks in her memory and Detta to fuel her hatred of the "honkey mahfah's". Detta tries to kill Eddie on one occasion and continually attempts to slow down their progress down the beach. Due to Roland's illness Eddie has to make the final leg to the third door twice and between trips Detta Walker escapes with a loaded gun (II. 225 - 301.) Eventually they reach the third door labeled "The Pusher" (II. 301) (see notes above.) Detta takes Eddie prisoner and waits for Roland to return from the "real" world. Before he returns, however, he looks at her through the door and she sees herself through someone else's eyes. This combines Odetta Holmes and Detta Walker into a third, whole, personality Susannah Dean (Susannah being the middle name both Odetta and Detta shared and Dean being Eddie's surname. (II. 387)) Midway through this notation Roland mentions that he witnessed some of the events from "Eyes of the Dragon" (II. 362) mentioning Flagg, by name, being chased by two men named Dennis and Thomas. Book 3 - While Roland is teaching Susannah to shoot, a large bio-mechanical bear lurches from the woods and tries to kill Eddie (III 26.) Reference is made to "The Old People" (III 19-20) who called the bear Mir ("the world beneath the world"?.) Roland calls it "One of the Twelve" (III. 29) and a "Guardian". The bear is huge, decrepit, and infested with maggot-like parasites (III. 21.) It is killed only when the satellite dish on its head is destroyed (III. 31.) The Guardians are semi-mythical creatures to Roland and, by his account, were created 2000 - 3000 years previously (3.33.) Like a ship the bear has a metal identification plate reading (in part) "North Central Positronics, LTD., Granite City, Northeast Corridor, Design 4 GUARDIAN, Type/Species BEAR, SHARDIK, **NR**SUBNUCLEAR CELLS MUST NOT BE REPLACED**NR**" (III. 34.) Roland also calls the bear "a wonder of the latter days." Shardik is also the name of a book by Richard Adams, the author of Watership Down. It is at this time that Roland first begins to show the dichotomy created when he prevented Jake from being killed in book 2 (see the 1975 notes above. (III. 35)) While appearing very ill, his mind being torn in half, Roland tells the history of the Guardians. They were created by The Great Old Ones to guard the 12 portals that led in and out of the world. These 12 portals and their guardians were set around the edge of the world like numbers on a clock face. At the center of the circle, where the hands would be fastened, lies the 13th portal which rules all worlds, the Dark Tower. The guardians which Roland can recall are the Bear, the Fish, the Lion, the Bat, and the Turtle (which according to a nursery rhyme carries the earth on its shell and "holds us all within his mind ".) This turtle appears often, leading the way to Blaine's cradle among other places. Roland says that the Turtle is very important, more so than the other guardians. After recounting the tale of his split memory, Roland throws Walter's jawbone in the fire where it changes first into a key, then a rose, then vanishes entirely. In a dream Jack Andolini tells Eddie that "there are other worlds than these and that fucking train rolls through all of them. . . if you can get it started. And if you do get it started, your troubles are only beginning because this device is a real bastard to shut down." Other portions of this dream occur during Jake's time and place names (such as Tom and Gerry's Artistic Deli) occur both in the dream and in the "real" time and space of Jake's reality. The three begin tracing the bear's trail, trying to find the portal. After finding the portal Roland shows his companions how to follow the "Beam" that leads from each Portal to the Dark Tower. The force that binds his world together causes everything, even trees, flying birds, and clouds, to bend in the direction of the flow. By following that flow they will reach the center and find the tower. Eddie finds a piece of ash that might be carved into a key if he can do it right. Eddie is told through the dreams he shares with Jake that the key can keep the conflicting voices out of Roland's head, which it does. They continue along the Beam and Eddie realizes that Jake is going to try and make it through to their side. A marker is found indicating a kingdom called Mid-World. Roland says that it was one of the great kingdoms before the world moved on. He also says that he knows some of the stories from those times and that a partial history was recorded on a tapestry that is very sad. Roland and company sight a city that may very well be the remains of Saint Louis, MO. They find an oracle not unlike the one that almost killed Jake in book one and Eddie recognizes it as the place where Jake is going to come through. While Roland and Susannah battle the demon of the oracle, Eddie draws a door in the dirt, finishes the key, opens the door and Roland jumps through carrying the demon, which is loosed on the doorkeeper allowing Roland and Jake to escape. Jake had been bitten by a spider on his side of the door and the bite becomes infected. Roland gives the boy keflex until he recovers. Four days later he is awakened by a small mammal called a billy-bumbler nuzzling his face. Jake feeds it and it befriends the group (they name it Oy due to its repeating the last syllable of any word it hears, "Boy" becomes "Oy".) Jake also notes that his watch has ceased to function properly, claiming all sorts of impossible times and running backwards at varying speeds. Roland says that "as a rule no timepiece did very good work these days". They head towards a distant city under the ominous sound of beating drums (Eddie figures out later that it is the backbeat to the ZZ Top song "Velcro Fly".) Jake notices several mutant bison in a herd of normal ones. The road they follow passes through a small town called River Crossing. They are met by a contingent of incredibly aged people, the eldest well into her hundreds, who recognize Roland as a gunslinger. They tell part of the story of Lud. As they approach the city Eddie and Susannah recognize a huge suspension bridge as being the George Washington Bridge. This confuses Jake who had been assuming they were in Missouri. Roland explains some of the things he has been hiding for a while. Ka is his word for fate, that which people are driven to do whether they like it or not. A ka-tet is a group of people bound together by the same ka. Roland has some minor telepathic abilities, he can send thoughts and can receive some, but it is like looking through a dirty window. Eddie, Susannah and Jake can read each others minds and this sharing of thoughts is called khef (not unlike Eddie and Jake being able to communicate from one world to the next through their dreams. Although we know, from book 1, that khef is progressive, a matter of degree like a martial art. Roland is 5th level, which means he got thirsty in the desert but it didn't bother him. Had he been 7th or 8th level in the khef he wouldn't have even been aware of the thirst.) After this defining of terms Roland tells them all the full story of what happened in book one, including his dream that was induced by Walter that had the universe being obliterated and ended with a lone blade of purple grass (Jake instantly recognizes the significance of the grass, see the notes for Book 1 and 1977.) Eddie and Susannah re-tell the stories of book 2 and the first half of book 3 just to bring Jake up to speed (she leaves out the rape by/of the demon in the speaking ring and the fact that she might be pregnant.) Jake tells them all his story and what he knows about Blaine the Mono. As they grow nearer the city they find a wrecked WWII vintage airplane that contains the mummified remains of a very large man (David Quick.) Beneath the insignia of a fist holding a lightning bolt is the Nazi swastika. Roland reveals that he is a hard-core riddler. They discover a hive of blind albino bees. Roland says that these, along with the mutant bison and partially sterile humans came as a result of something that happened a thousand years ago or more called "the Old War", "the Great Fire", "the Cataclysm", and "the Great Poisoning". Oy nearly falls to his death while trying to cross the ancient bridge. Jake dives after him and is almost killed himself, but Eddie (who had been fighting a bout of acrophobia) saves them both with the help of Roland. To save Jake and Oy, however, all had to be exposed on the bridge at the same time and a man holding a grenade threatens to kill them all unless they give up Jake. Gasher, who has some type of venereal disease that produces AIDS- like facial lesions, has come on behalf of the Tick-Tock Man (who is the leader of the Grays) to kidnap the boy. Roland leaves to find Jake and Eddie and Susannah must navigate the city and find Blaine on their own. Jake is led through a dense maze by Gasher and Roland is only able to follow with the help of Oy. Eddie and Susannah encounter a band of Pubes and kill most of them before they are recognized as gunslingers. The survivors begrudgingly agree to take them to Blaine. At the Cradle they see a 60ft golden statue of another gunslinger. Blaine awakens and threatens to kill Eddie and Susannah unless they tell him(it?) a really good riddle. Meanwhile Jake meets the Tick-Tock man, the Great-Grandson of David Quick, inside a furnished missile silo. Roland and Oy rescue Jake after Blaine helps them by opening the door to the silo via remote control. Jake tries to kill the Tick-Tock Man with one of his own weapons, but the gun he uses isn't strong enough to penetrate the man's literally thick skull. Blaine riddles Roland (who, oddly, gives his name as "Roland, son of Steven" when in book one his father was called "Roland senior") and, finding him worthy, leads them out of the encampment of the Grays to the Cradle. To leave the city, however, they must solve another of Blaine's riddles while canisters of nerve gas erupt beneath the city killing the entire population. Richard Fannin finds what is left of the Tick-Tock Man, calls him by his real name (Andrew Quick), and revives him. Andrew is sworn into fealty ("My life for you! My life for you!") and is charged with finding Roland and company and killing them. After that Fannin leads him to the gas masks saying that while he could survive the next few minutes, Quick might have a few problems. Blaine's boarding riddle is answered and they are on their way through the city towards the Wastelands. The track runs 7000 miles and has 4 stops before Topeka (Candleton, Rilea, the Falls of the Hounds, and Dasherville.) At the edge of Lud they first see the Waste Lands and the grotesque mutations that live there, unspeakable creatures that seem cut from the pages of an H.P. Lovecraft story. Blaine reveals that he is going to kill himself and wants to take everyone else with him. They travel faster than the speed of sound, Blaine has disabled his sensors so he won't know if there is a break in the track, and they have begun a riddling contest that could (if they win) save their lives. Book 4 - Roland and company riddle Blaine as they swiftly blow through Candleton, Rilea, the Falls of the Hounds and asherville on the way to Topeka. We get Jakes age for the first time, he's eleven. It is mentioned that Cort may have been aware of other worlds (he knew a riddle written by Jonathan Swift) and that he spoke to "the manni" (a religious sect?) that lived outside Gilead when Roland was a boy. Roland says that his companion Cuthbert had died talking and fears the same end for Eddie. Eddie saves the day by feeding Blaine nonsense riddles that cannot be answered using pure force of logic alone. It is interesting that Blaines last words ("I HATE YOU! I HATE YOU FOREVER!") echo those of Gollum from J.R.R. Tolkiens "The Hobbit". Roland apologizes for speaking harshly to Eddie regarding his riddling style. He also says he had to apologize to Cuthbert under similar cicumstances. They reach Topeka and are greeted by a sign marking Interstate 70. The beam runs SouthEast from here. Another sign reads "KTA: Kansas Turnpike" Roland swoons and begins speaking in tongues. "Jonas and Reynolds and Depape," he said. "The Big Coffin Hunters. And her. The Coos. They were the ones. They were the ones who -" He also calls out for "Susan". Roland announces that they have reached a "thinny", a place where reality is starting to wear thin like the elbows on a well-used jacket. Eddie and Susannah finally notice that "geography is wacky here..." They also mention that time seems to be funny as well. Roland keeps wistfully remembering Susan Delgado. Roland remembers that he knew a one-eyed gambler named Omaha who got stuck with a knife while playing "Watch Me". A clock in the room stopped at 4:14. They discover a newspaper in this new world (the world on the other side of the thinny) that they have crossed over into. It's the world of "the Stand" where the super-flu wiped out most of the populace. Read "The Stand" for more details. This seems to be the world of the original Stand rather than the un-cut edition because the newspaper reports that the date is June 24, 1986. Reagan is still president and Bush is still V.P. In Topeka Jake finds the "real-life" Charlie the Choo-Choo. Graffiti on some signs reads "Watch for the walkin' dude" and "All hail the Crimson King." Both also had an all seeing eye painted over them as well. A glass palace appears in the distance. Roland says "It's trouble, and it's in our road." Before Roland begins the tale of his past we find out the full names of some important people and places. Roland's parents were Steven and Gabrielle Deschain. The Wizard who betrayed them was Marten Broadcloak. Gilead was the town Roland was from and the Barony or county was New Canaan. Roland begins the story of Susan and his youth (see previous Book 4 notes). 1/2 way through there is a pause and Eddie makes a sharp observation. He wants to know how Roland could continue the story when events took place outside his presence. Roland declines to answer. They also all notice that time seems to be moving very slowly, the night is taking forever to pass. Roland says that's just the way it is in his world. Roland tells Eddie and Susannah that it was the Grapefruit that showed him the missing bits to his tale. Jake finds a note under a windshield wiper mentioning an old woman in Nebraska named Abigail and a Dark Man in Vegas. See "The Stand" for details. Continuing along I-70 they find 4 pairs of ruby shoes, left apparently just for them (one "pair" is actually 2 pair for Oy the quadruped). Naturally this causes them to think of"The Wizard of Oz", The Wizard's Rainbow and Dorothy and how Sheb the piano player, Brown and Rhea all ran into Roland years after the events in Hambry. They get closer to the glass palace, now they can see it is green with yellow all-seeing eyes painted on each tower. A colored glass gate bars their way. Each bar on the gate corresponds to a color in The Wizard's Rainbow. They use the ruby shoes to open the gate (clicking their heels three times.) The similarites to Oz do not end there. They gain access to a large throne-room and confront an amplified, yet spectral, Blaine the Mono. The image mixes it's cultural references ("Wizard of Oz" with "Gone With the Wind") and Oy discovers that this particular incarnation of Oz even includes a Man Behind the Curtain. The Tick-Tock Man. Another man appears on the throne and tells them to "Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!" Eddie and Susannah immediately recognize Quick as being a threat and blow him away. Roland recognizes the man on the throne immediately, he is known by many names, the Ageless Stranger, Richard Fannin, Randall Flagg, Maerlin and most stunningly of all, Marten Broadcloak. The man who seduced Roland's mother and aided in the collapse of the Affiliation. Flagg enchants Roland's gun so that it misfires and warns them all to cease their quest for the tower. Roland pulls another gun, one from Eddie's world, and fires but by the time he does so Flagg has vanished in a cloud of green smoke. Flagg leaves the Grapefruit behind and it draws all three of Roland's companions into its world and shows them how a young Roland killed his mother. After this vision they find themselves back on the path of the beam. Flagg leaves a final taunting note asking them to abandon their quest. He signs it with a bolt of lightening descending from a cloud. Roland thinks this fortells another meeting with Flagg at a place called "Thunderclap". Once again the ka-tet head out on the line of the beam. This ends the tale of the Dark Tower as of August 29, 1997. III. Unanswered Questions There are several things here that may be allusions to other works, but I haven't read enough King to figure them out on my own. For example: What is the deal with the creation myth? Do those names ring any bells at all? What about the story of Markey Academy, the kids found with their throats cut, their blood drained and their hair turned white? The story of David Quick sounds familiar but I can't quite place it (perhaps I've just seen "Road Warrior" a few too many times.) Of course there is also the great turtle, wasn't that a significant part of beating the creature in "IT"? Some great mystical turtle? At one point Roland says that as a rule time pieces don't work anymore. Would this be true for sun-dials as well? Could the form of shared telepathy that they all seem to have be considered "the Shine"? In Book 4 it is mentioned that Henry had a gang when he was a kid. The other members were Jimmie Polino, Tommy Fredericks, Georgie Pratt, and Frank Duganelli. They also knew other boys named Skipper Brannigan, Csaba Drabnik and Larry McCain. I don't know about the rest of these names, but Georgie Pratt sounds achingly familiar. In Book 4, page 135 (hardcover ed.) there are three odd phrases: "the world next door", "sometimes they come back" and "get on your horse and ride". Aren't these the titles of short stories by King? IV. Other Rolands and Towers Date Unknown - Childe Rowland I have, at long last, obtained this text (kudos to Joe Hughes for finding it and mailing me copies.) I have typed it up as a text file and you can request a copy from me at jordanl@europa.com The story involves four siblings, three boys and a girl. The girl, Burd Ellen, is kidnapped by the King of Fairy after walking widershins around a church to retrieve a lost ball. The eldest brother seeks the advice of Merlin and goes in search of his lost sister. He never returns. The middle brother does the same and also vanishes. Finally the youngest, Childe Rowland, gains permission from his mother to try as well. Merlin tells him that in order to succeed he must do two things, he must cut off the head of every person he meets from the time he enters the land of Fairy until he finds Burd Ellen and he must not eat or drink anything while in the boundaries of the Fairy Kingdom. Childe Rowland ventures forth, meeting a horseherd, cowherd and henwife, asking each for directions and then killing them. He finally arrives at a large hill and the Fairy King's Dark Tower. He gains entry and battles and overcomes the King of Fairy. The terms of his surrender are to release all four children. He does this and everyone lives happily ever after. An interesting side note: Shakespeare makes reference to this ballad in King Lear, Act III, Scene iv, where Edgar (disguised as the madman Tom O'Bedlam) says "Child Rowland to the Dark Tower came, / His word was still 'Fie, foh, and fum, / I smell the blood of a British man'." Date Unknown - The Tower The sixteenth card of the Higher Arcana in any Tarot deck, this card is typically read as meaning a particularly painful, arduous or terrifying experience that ultimately offers freedom from oppression. Several versions of the card show a man and woman falling from the tower. Circa 1100 A.D. - The Song of Roland This epic poem (the only remaining complete epic written in French) tells the story of the nephew of Charlemagne and how, while fighting in Spain, he and the entire rear guard of Charlemagne's army were wiped out because Roland's stepfather, Ganelon, was a traitor and sold out his own people to the Saracen so Roland would be killed. Roland himself is partly to blame as well because he failed to blow his horn and call reinforcements. The author of the epic used this story to show the righteous battle between the Christians of the crusades (Roland, his 11 companions {together called "the 12 peers"}, and 20,000 French soldiers) and the "heathens" who destroyed them (presented as Muslims, although the historical culprits were Basques.) Roland's companions in this text are as follows: Oliver, Gerin, Count Gerer, Oton, Berenger, Astor, Anseis, Gerard of Roussillon, Duke Gaifier, Archbishop Turpin of Reims, and Count Gautier. This text is too long for me to make available in electronic format, but you can find it at most good bookstore and this web page: http://sunsite.berkeley.edu/OMACL/Roland 1855 - "Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came" by Robert Browning By his own admission King has been greatly influenced by the poem. It tells the story of a Roland searching for a "Dark Tower". In his search Roland loses all of his companions (including one named Cuthbert), is forced to cross many types of blasted terrain not unlike a desert or wasteland, and when he finally arrives at the tower he is greeted by the eerie sound of the names of his companions and their deeds being spoken. He sees them standing in a sheet of flame on the hilltops surrounding the tower and blows his horn to signify that he has arrived. If you would like the electronic text file please e-mail me at jordanl@europa.com. Circa 1938 - "The Dark Tower" by C.S. Lewis Only a fragment of this story still exists today, but what is left of it was published in 1974. There are several gaps in the manuscript and it is entirely possible that Lewis never even finished the story (rather than he did finish it, but the rest was lost.) Due to copyright restrictions I cannot make this text available, but you can purchase it at finer bookstores everywhere. Here several men discuss the nature of time travel and, since they deem it impossible to physically travel to other times, they invent a chronoscope to look in on other times. This device consists of a telescope like tube which contains some exotic material. When a light is shone through one end and projected out the other onto a screen images of another time appear. They have no control over these images, but they always fall within 10 miles or so of what they call "The Dark Tower", knowingly making the connection to Browning. Through this window to the other world they see the Dark Tower being constructed by a race of people divided into three castes. There are workers who actually do the manual labor, there are the supervisors of the workers (called "Jerkies") who are un-naturally stiff in their movements, and there is the high lord of the Tower called "the Stingingman". They watch in fascinated horror at the Stingingman who has a scorpion-like stinger protruding from his forehead. People of the working class come before him stripped to the waist and he injects his venom into their spine turning them into one of the "Jerkies". Soon it becomes apparent that the world they are viewing may not be another time at all, they begin to see familiar faces in the crowd, and the tower seems achingly familiar (it turns out to be almost an exact replica of the tower at the Cambridge library.) One of the familiar faces is that of one of the men gathered to view this other world and they follow this duplicate as he moves from one scene to the next. Eventually this duplicate falls ill and just as they all think he is about to die he grows a stinger in the middle of his forehead. Nothing more is seen of the previous Stingingman, but the duplicate of the confused Englishman is raised to the exalted status of Lord of the Dark Tower. Just as the men are about to witness the stinging of his first victim the man who has been duplicated loses all sense of sanity and lunges for the screen (the girl who was to be stung was the duplicate of his own fiancee.) Somehow a transference takes place and his mind becomes trapped in the body of the Stingingman and vice versa. Lewis never completed the story beyond this point. The man from England is trying to keep himself and the woman he thought was his fiancee alive in the world of the Dark Tower while the Stingingman evades capture in the streets of England. It is clear in this story that Lewis meant to make a point about alternate realities, but he was either un-aware of the term or deliberately chose not to use it. King's use of the doorways in book 2 is extremely similar to Lewis' description of the chronoscope. 1946 - "The Dark Tower", BBC Radio Play written by Louis Macneice. I have no further information on this work and would be most interested in a tape or transcript if anyone knows where it can be obtained please let me know! V. Credits Humble thanks go to the following people: Lance Whitney (lwhitney@delphi.com) for placing this FAQ in the "Book and Candle Pub" on Delphi. Keith F. (keithf@gandalf.rutgers.edu) for including my FAQ in his marvelous horror WWW home page (http://electron.rutgers.edu/~keithf/.) Tim Sheridan (tsherida@moose.uum.edu) for correcting an error in the story of Jake's rescue from Andrew Quick. Gary L. (stimpy@beavis.im.med.umich.edu) for posting the Dark Tower related bits from King's interview on CNN (especially since I missed the interview.) David Pirmann (pirmann@cs.rutgers.edu) for sending me the electronic version of Browning's "Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came". You may obtain this e-text by following this link. Someone whose name and address I lost for telling me about an "it's / its" typo that somehow slipped by me. Curt Miller (Curt.Miller@SEN.CA.GOV) for sending me the page numbers for the geography question added in version 1.3 of the FAQ. Joe G. Hughes (jghughes@prairienet.org) for sending me the info on the original "Childe Rowland". The full text appears in "The Worlds Great Folktales", edited by James R. Foster, Dewey Decimal # 398.21 F81w. The e- text version of this may be obtained by e-mailing me at jordanl@europa.com. Janie (edmunds.2@postbox.acs.ohio-state.edu), Shaun Stuart (shaun@acca.ucsd.edu), and Mark Lawton (lawton@cole.nuff.ox.ac.uk) for pointing out obvious typos that slipped by me. Mark Lawton also was kind enough to put this FAQ on his WWW page, http://www.nuff.ox.ac.uk/Users/Lawton/darktow.html Mike Lenius (mlenius@netaccess.on.ca) for posting this on CompuServe. John McGarry (jmcgarry@onramp.net) for a bit in the Chronology that I missed, the bit with the compass. Phil Laton (PL7714@xx.acs.appstate.edu) for placing this FAQ on his fine Stephen King WWW page (http://xx.acs.appstate.edu/~pl7714/skin.html.) Emily Hegarty (ehegarty@acad.suffolk.edu) for reminding me of the Tarot card for the Tower. I can't believe I forgot it! Ralph Brunner (ralph.brunner@ods.de) for posting the FAQ to SF-NET, a Science Fiction Network servicing Austria, Germany, Spain, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. Troy Bloemker (schadel@eskimo.com) who was the first of many to point out that Marten was not another Gunslinger. Troy also keenly pointed out another simile that describes the Tower itself really well. The tower is like the central pole in a circus tent. It's connected to many other worlds (or tent stakes) by the fabric of reality, but it's the tower that gives all the different worlds their form and function. He also pointed out (a veritable fountain of information) that Roland spies Polaris and Mars in the skies above the Way Station in book one, which means Roland's world is Earth (or an Earth as there may be more than one) after all. Someone whose name and address I have lost :( for pointing out that Roland does use those arrows after all. James Pace for posting the FAQ to his web page located at http://wwwcsif.ucdavis.edu/%7Epace/king.html Persons Unknown (101560.35230@compuserve.com, boy you gotta love those CompuServe addresses. :) who informed me of a BBC Radio drama written by Louis Macneice WAY back in 1946 called "The Dark Tower". I have no further information on this work and would be most interested in a tape or transcript if anyone knows where it can be obtained please let me know! Jon Croft (VFLA91A@prodigy.com) who pointed out that the two kids who were drained of blood at the Markey Academy were a boy and a girl, not two boys as I originally reported. Erik Ratcliff (erat@netcom.com) who made me aware of the old King Crimson song "In the Court of the Crimson King". This is worth checking out for all your Insomnia fans out there. Very interesting. Linda Perez (nmsu.edu@NMSU.EDU) for painstakingly finding all the turtle references in "IT". I'm still (months later!) digesting all of that. Thanks! Jim McGrath (jdmcgrat@colby.edu) who is the best proof-reader a guy could ask for. Randall Flagg (randall.flagg@montego.com) (and you thought _I_ was a serious Dark Tower fan...) for mentioning that book one calls Roland's father "Roland" and book 3 calls him "Steven". And last but not least, Debbie Moore (moorefam@epix.net) for giving her account in the King newsgroup of a bookreading where King said that he has the next 1400 pages of the Dark Tower written.